LA Times Crossword Answers 9 Mar 2018, Friday

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Constructed by: Alex Bajcz
Edited by: Rich Norris

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Today’s Theme: Sounds Like …

Themed answers sound like well-known phrases:

  • 20A. What Darwin did aboard the Beagle? : WRITE OF PASSAGE (sounds like “rite of passage”)
  • 25A. London supermarket sections? : BRITISH AISLES (sounds like “British Isles”)
  • 48A. Tie shoes professionally? : KNOT FOR PROFIT (sounds like “not for profit”)
  • 55A. Lacking a critical watch-making supply? : OUT OF HOUR HANDS (sounds like “out of our hands”)

Bill’s time: 8m 32s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

6. Apple app mostly replaced by Messages : ICHAT

iChat was introduced in 2002, and was Apple’s “instant messaging” application that integrated with the Mac Operating System. iChat was replaced by Messages.

11. Clock std. : GST

GST is Greenwich Sidereal Time.

Astronomers use sidereal time to know where to locate given stars in the night sky. Sidereal time is a time scale that takes into account the Earth’s rotation relative to stars with a fixed location in the night sky.

14. Some plankton : ALGAE

Plankton are organisms that float in water and are incapable of swimming against a current. Plankton can be classified into four broad groups:

  • Phytoplankton: algae that live on the surface and use light for photosynthesis.
  • Zooplankton: small animals that mainly feed on other plankton.
  • Bacterioplankton: the bacterial component of plankton.
  • Mycoplankton: the fungal component of plankton.

15. Iconic Vivien Leigh role : O’HARA

As casting proceeded for the movie version of “Gone With the Wind”, Clark Gable was a shoo-in from day one. The role of Scarlett O’Hara was considered very desirable in the acting community, with Bette Davis on the short list, and Katherine Hepburn demanding an appointment with producer David O. Selznick to discuss the role. Vivien Leigh was an unlikely contender, an English actress for the definitive Southern belle role. Selznick was adamant though, and stuck by his preference for Leigh despite a lot of protests.

16. 2014 World Cup Final host : RIO

The 2014 World Cup Final was played in Rio de Janeiro between Germany and Argentina. Germany emerged victorious, marking the fourth time that a German team won the tournament. However, 2014 was the first time a team representing a unified Germany became world champions.

18. Stable moms : MARES

There are lots of terms to describe horses of different ages and sexes, it seems:

  • Foal: horse of either sex that is less that one year old
  • Yearling: horse of either sex that is one to two years old
  • Filly: female horse under the age of four
  • Colt: male horse under the age of four
  • Gelding: castrated male horse of any age
  • Stallion: non-castrated male horse four years or older
  • Mare: female horse four years or older

20. What Darwin did aboard the Beagle? : WRITE OF PASSAGE (sounds like “rite of passage”)

Englishman Charles Darwin studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland but neglected his studies largely due to his interest in nature and natural history. In the early 1830s, a friend put forward Darwin’s name as a candidate for the post of “collector” on the voyage of HMS Beagle. The Beagle was intending to spend two years at sea primarily charting the coast of South America. The voyage ended up taking five years, during which time Darwin sent back copious letters describing his findings. Back in Britain these letters were published as pamphlets by a friend and so when Darwin eventually returned home in 1836, he had already gained some celebrity in scientific circles. It was while on the Beagle that Darwin developed his initial ideas on the concept of natural selection. It wasn’t until over twenty years later that he formulated his theories into a scientific paper and in 1859 published his famous book “On the Origin of the Species”. This original publication never even mentioned the word “evolution” which was controversial even back then. It was in 1871 that Darwin addressed head-on the concept that man was an animal species, in his book “The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex”.

25. London supermarket sections? : BRITISH AISLES (sounds like “British Isles”)

The British Isles comprise over six thousand islands off the northwest coast of Europe, the two largest being the islands of Great Britain and Ireland. Back in my homeland, the Republic of Ireland, we’re not too fond of the term “British Isles”, as it tends to awaken memories of the Norman invasion and the Tudor conquest. We tend to go with the term “Britain and Ireland”.

35. Love interest for WALL-E : EVE

WALL-E is a very cute Pixar movie that was released in 2008. The hero of the piece is a robot named WALL-E, who loves his “Hello Dolly”, and who falls in love with a robot robot EVE.

39. Carrier merged with Delta since 2010 : NWA

Northwest Airlines (NWA) was founded in 1926 in Detroit, and took its name from the Northwest Territory. The airlines original mission was to transport mail for the US Post office, but Northwest branched out into carrying passengers relatively quickly, in 1927. Northwest merged with Delta in 2008-2010, resulting in the world’s largest airline at that time. However, it was the Northwest name that was retired.

41. Game with Reverse cards : UNO

In my youth I remember being taught a great card game by a German acquaintance of mine, a game called Mau Mau. Years later I discovered that Uno is basically the same game, but played with a purpose-printed deck instead of the regular deck of playing cards that’s used for Mau Mau. I hear that Mau Mau is derived from the game called Crazy Eights.

42. ’50s sitcom name : DESI

In the hit television show “I Love Lucy”, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz play Lucy and Ricky Ricardo. The Ricardos’ best friends are also their landlords, Fred and Ethel Mertz. The Mertz’s are played by William Frawley and Vivian Vance.

60. Hitter’s stat : RBI

Run batted in (RBI)

61. Sometimes plucked instrument : CELLO

The word “cello” (plural “celli” or “cellos”) is an abbreviation for “violoncello”, an Italian word for “little violone”, referring to a group of stringed instruments that were popular up to the end of the 17th century. The name violoncello persisted for the instrument that we know today, although the abbreviation ‘cello was often used. Nowadays we just drop the apostrophe.

62. Dorothy, to Em : NIECE

In the children’s novel “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” by L. Frank Baum, Dorothy Gale lives with her Auntie Em and Uncle Henry.

64. Common base : TEN

Our base-10 numeral system is also known as the decimal (sometimes “denary”) numeral system. Another common numeral system is base-2, which is also known as the binary system.

66. Showman’s talent : ECLAT

“Éclat” can mean a brilliant show of success, or the applause or accolade that one receives. The word derives from the French “éclater” meaning “to splinter, burst out”.

67. Braz. neighbor : ARG

Argentina is the second largest country in South America (after Brazil), and the world’s largest Spanish-speaking nation. The name “Argentina” comes from the Latin “argentum”, the word for “silver”. It is thought that the name was given by the early Spanish and Portuguese conquerors who also named the Rio de la Plata (the “Silver River”). Those early explorers got hold of lots of silver objects that they found among the native population.

69. “Voting Rights Trail” terminus : SELMA

The Bloody Sunday march took place between Selma and Montgomery, Alabama on 7 March 1965. The 600 marchers involved were protesting the intimidation of African-Americans registering to vote. When the marchers reached Dallas County, Alabama they encountered a line of state troopers reinforced by white males who had been deputized that morning to help keep the peace. Violence broke out with 17 marchers ending up in hospital, one nearly dying. Because the disturbance was widely covered by television cameras, the civil rights movement picked up a lot of support that day. The route of the march is memorialized as a US National Historic Trail called the Selma to Montgomery Voting Rights Trail.

Down

3. Movie lab helper : IGOR

The lab assistant named Igor has turned up in many movies in recent decades, and usually appears as the aide to Dr. Frankenstein. Paradoxically, in Mary Shelley’s original novel, Frankenstein had no assistant at all. Further, the lab assistant introduced in 1931 in the first of the “Frankenstein” series of movies was named Fritz. Bela Lugosi played a character named Ygor in “Frankenstein” sequels in 1939 and 1946, but he was a blacksmith and didn’t work in the lab.

4. Battle of New Orleans pirate : LAFITTE

Jean Lafitte was a French pirate who plied his trade in the Gulf of Mexico. Lafitte helped Andrew Jackson in the Battle of New Orleans towards the end of the War of 1812, in return for a pardon for his pirating activities.

5. Short Golf drive? : TEST RIDE

The Volkswagen Golf used to be sold as the Volkswagen Rabbit here in North America. The Golf was introduced in 1974 as a front-wheel drive replacement for the hugely successful Volkswagen Beetle.

6. Insect with eyespots on its wings : IO MOTH

The Io moth is a colorful moth that is native to North America. It has a large spot on either wing that resembles an eye. The “eyes” work as a disguise, as the moth can look like the face of a mammal, and hence ward off potential moth predators.

10. Academic hanger : TASSEL

Tasseled mortarboards, or square academic caps, are associated with school graduations all over the world, although traditions do differ. For example in Ireland (where I come from), mortarboards are only worn by female graduates.

12. Onslaught : SIEGE

Our word “siege” comes from a 13th century word for a “seat”. The military usage derives from the concept of a besieging force “sitting down” outside a fortress until it falls.

21. München cubes : EIS

In German, “Eis” (ice) is frozen “Wasser” (water).

Munich is the capital of the German state of Bavaria, and is the third largest city in the country (after Berlin and Hamburg). The city is called “München” in German, a term that derives from the Old German word for “by the monks’ place”, which is a reference to the monks of the Benedictine order who founded the city in 1158.

22. RSVP holders : SAES

An SAE is a “stamped, addressed envelope”. An SASE is a “self-addressed, stamped envelope”.

RSVP stands for “répondez s’il vous plaît”, which is French for “answer, please”.

26. Techno club event : RAVE

As you might imagine, I’ve never been to a rave, and don’t have one upcoming in my diary. And as raves often start at 2 a.m. then I’m unlikely ever to experience one. A rave is generally an all-night party featuring loud, electronically-synthesized music usually played by a DJ as opposed to a live band.

28. Solar wind particle : ION

The Sun’s upper atmosphere continually ejects a stream of the charged particles that have such high energy that they can escape the Sun’s gravity. This supersonic plasma consisting of mainly electrons, protons and alpha particles is referred to as the solar wind. The solar wind extends as far as the outer limits of our solar system, and is responsible for phenomena such as the Earth’s northern and southern lights, the geomagnetic storms that affect radio reception, and the plasma tails of comets.

33. R.E.M.’s “The __ Love” : ONE I

“The One I Love” is a song released in 1987 by the rock band R.E.M. The lyrics are somewhat cynical. The song starts out with a promising “This one goes out to the one I love”. The second line is less wholesome, “A simple prop to occupy my time” …

34. Cargo pickup site : PORT

Cargo is freight carried by some vehicle. The term “cargo” comes into English via Spanish, ultimately deriving from the Latin “carricare” meaning “to load on a cart”.

40. Southwest routes : AIR LANES

Southwest Airlines is the world’s largest low-cost passenger airline. I’ve always admired the Southwest operation and found that the company knows to keep costs under control while maintaining a high level of customer service. One strategy the company used for decades was only to operate Boeing 737 aircraft, which kept maintenance and operating costs to a minimum.

49. Lumber remnant, in Liverpool : OFFCUT

Liverpool is a large port city in the northwest of England located on the estuary of the River Mersey. With a sense of humor that is typical of the area, people from Liverpool are often called “Liverpudlians”. The term comes from the jocular “Liver-puddle”, a diminutive of “Liver-pool”.

57. Contemporary of Nadia : OLGA

Olga Korbut is from modern-day Belarus, but was born during the days of the Soviet Union. Korbut competed for the USSR team in the 1972 and 1976 Olympic Games. She was 17 when she appeared in the 1972 Munich Games, and had been training in a sports school since she was 8-years-old. The world fell in love with her as she was a very emotional young lady, readily expressing joy and disappointment, something that we weren’t used to seeing in athletes from behind the Iron Curtain. Korbut immigrated to the US in 1991 and now lives in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Nadia Comaneci won three golds in the 1976 Summer Olympics and was the first gymnast to be awarded a perfect score of a ten in the gymnastics competition. Comaneci published a book called “Letters to a Young Gymnast” in 2003, and now lives in the United States.

58. Computer giant : DELL

Dell, the computer manufacturer, is named after the company’s founder Michael Dell. Michael Dell started his company in his dorm room at college, shipping personal computers that were customized to the specific needs of his customers. He dropped out of school in order to focus on his growing business, a decision that I doubt he regrets. Michael Dell is now one of the richest people in the world.

63. SFO posting : ETA

San Francisco International Airport (SFO) serves as the main base of operations for Virgin America (recently sold to Alaska Airlines), and is also the maintenance hub for United Airlines.

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Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. In need of mopping : SPILT
6. Apple app mostly replaced by Messages : ICHAT
11. Clock std. : GST
14. Some plankton : ALGAE
15. Iconic Vivien Leigh role : O’HARA
16. 2014 World Cup Final host : RIO
17. Bungles : GOOFS
18. Stable moms : MARES
19. “What is THAT?” : EEK!
20. What Darwin did aboard the Beagle? : WRITE OF PASSAGE (sounds like “rite of passage”)
23. Far from fresh : TRITE
24. Reduced to crumbs, perhaps : EATEN
25. London supermarket sections? : BRITISH AISLES (sounds like “British Isles”)
30. Behaved like a lovestruck heart : RACED
31. Lakeside temperature gauge? : TOE
32. End : STOP
35. Love interest for WALL-E : EVE
36. Word that may follow a president’s name : ERA
39. Carrier merged with Delta since 2010 : NWA
41. Game with Reverse cards : UNO
42. ’50s sitcom name : DESI
44. Something to wrestle with : ARM
46. Figure out : INFER
48. Tie shoes professionally? : KNOT FOR PROFIT (sounds like “not for profit”)
52. Walking aid : STAFF
54. Distributed : DEALT
55. Lacking a critical watch-making supply? : OUT OF HOUR HANDS (sounds like “out of our hands”)
60. Hitter’s stat : RBI
61. Sometimes plucked instrument : CELLO
62. Dorothy, to Em : NIECE
64. Common base : TEN
65. Impulses : URGES
66. Showman’s talent : ECLAT
67. Braz. neighbor : ARG
68. Flirt : TEASE
69. “Voting Rights Trail” terminus : SELMA

Down

1. Sink : SAG
2. Slam (into) : PLOW
3. Movie lab helper : IGOR
4. Battle of New Orleans pirate : LAFITTE
5. Short Golf drive? : TEST RIDE
6. Insect with eyespots on its wings : IO MOTH
7. Be irritated by : CHAFE AT
8. Plucked instrument : HARP
9. Region : AREA
10. Academic hanger : TASSEL
11. “Nice work!” : GREAT STUFF!
12. Onslaught : SIEGE
13. Symbolic yet insubstantial : TOKEN
21. München cubes : EIS
22. RSVP holders : SAES
25. Word after well or ill : -BRED
26. Techno club event : RAVE
27. Winter recreation : ICE SKATING
28. Solar wind particle : ION
29. Use a needle : SEW
33. R.E.M.’s “The __ Love” : ONE I
34. Cargo pickup site : PORT
37. Ubiquitous rodent : RAT
38. Warning sound, perhaps : ARF!
40. Southwest routes : AIR LANES
43. Recon target : INFO
45. Interchangeable components : MODULES
47. Mean : NOT NICE
49. Lumber remnant, in Liverpool : OFFCUT
50. Ascended again : REROSE
51. “Blast it!” : PAH!
52. Wavering word : SORTA
53. Potato or yam : TUBER
56. “Try this” : HERE
57. Contemporary of Nadia : OLGA
58. Computer giant : DELL
59. In retrospect, it may have sounded too good to be true : SCAM
63. SFO posting : ETA

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